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General presentation -

General presentation at the Exhibition Expo Paris 1889
Architect(s) : Dutert, Contamin

The Machine Palace is the most important steel construction of the Exhibition. The weight of the irons used is 7,784,519 kilos, while the weight of the Eiffel Tower is only 7,300,000 kilos. The project was designed by Mr. Dutert, architect, and Mr. Contamin, engineer, verified and calculated the resistances, from the point of view of stability. It is perhaps a superior work to the tower, whose interest is still questionable, and which remains a curious rather than useful construction. On the other hand, the machine gallery covering an area of 48,300 m2, without any intermediate support, solves a difficulty that was still invincible. The largest steel structure ever built has an opening of only 75 metres, and it is the one at St. Pancras station in London. The machine gallery comprises a nave 420m long and 115m wide, surrounded lengthwise by galleries 15m wide forming a balcony on the first floor, raised by 8m, and allowing a complete tour of the nave, the height of which, under key, is 43m.

An idea of the length of this nave can be gained by considering that the façades of the Palace of Versailles, on the garden side, with its three buildings, form a geometrical line that is only 415m long, i.e. five metres shorter than the machine gallery.

© L'Exposition Universelle de 1889 - Brincourt - 1889